Thomas G. Fuller

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Thomas George Fuller
Britannia Yacht Club Thomas G Fuller display case and trophy.jpg
Thomas G Fuller display case and trophy, Britannia Yacht Club, Commodore's Boardroom
Nickname(s) Pirate of the Adriatic
Born 1908
Ottawa, Ontario
Died May 9, 1994
Ottawa, Ontario
Allegiance  Canada
Service/branch Canada Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve
Years of service 1939–1951
Rank Captain
Commands held

World War II

Relations Thomas Fuller - grandfather
Thomas W. Fuller - father
William, Mark, Antony and Simon - sons

Captain Thomas George Fuller (1909-1994) was a Canadian naval officer who earned renown in the Second World War for his actions as a member of the Coastal Forces of the Royal Navy.

Born in Ottawa, he was a 32-year-old contractor when he joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1939. He was seconded to the British Navy where he commanded flotillas of motor torpedo boats in the Mediterranean Sea and the Adriatic Sea.

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for an action off Dover on 12 May 1942 before being transferred to Alexandria and HMS Mosquito in 1943. While there he won a bar to his DSC for actions in the Aegean.

In 1944 he took command of the 61st MGB flotilla, eight torpedo gunboats, based on Vis island, Yugoslavia. It was here, while conducting raids on Axis shipping to provide supplies to Josip Broz Tito's partisans, that he earned a second bar to his DSC and a Mention in Despatches, as well as the nickname The Pirate of the Adriatic. He was known as the Pirate of the Adriatic because he carried commandos and captured dozens of ships intact carrying useful cargo such as tons of goulash and Danish Butter. For example, he sank or captured 25 ships in ten days. He had 105 firefights at sea as well as 30 actions in which he didn't fire a shot. Nevertheless, he decommissioned 13 boats during his war service; the ships were no longer serviceable and were stripped for parts.

After being imprisoned in Greece, he escaped in the German admiral’s barge.

After the war he commanded HMCS Naden and HMCS Carleton before retiring in 1952.[1]

Fuller ran Thomas Fuller Construction, which built the Ottawa Police Service headquarters, Ottawa General Hospital, Ottawa Congress Center, the Varette Building (1982) on Albert Street, and Standard Life's twin towers on Laurier Avenue. He was still working in the family business when he died at 85 years of age.

Thomas Fuller converted a former tugboat into a brigantine tall ship, the STV Black Jack. In the 1980s, he designed and built a brigantine, the STV Fair Jeanne, which was named in honour of his wife. After launching the Fair Jeanne in 1982, he and his wife cruised around the world six and a half times. Today, the ships are flagships of the Bytown Brigantine sail training program.[2] He died at 85 years of age at the Ottawa Civic Hospital on May 9, 1994.


Thomas and his second wife Jeanne had four sons plus a daughter who died in infancy. Their estate was the Moorings across the street from the Britannia Yacht Club. He turned over Thomas Fuller and Son Heavy Equipment to their son Simon, when he was 23 years old. Their son Bill serves as vice president of the Fuller family construction company and Antony is President of the Fuller real estate arm, Metcalfe Realty Company Limited. His daughter from his first marriage to Penelope Sherwood, Victoria Fuller, is a former British Actress now living in Ottawa and his eldest son Tom, a retired teacher, lives in New Zealand. [3]


Thomas G. Fuller's sons, William, Mark, Antony and Simon are active in the Fuller Group of Companies, whose projects include: Rideau Place Retirement Home; Shoppers Drug Mart; The Glebe Centre; City Centre Self Storage Facility; Carleton University Master Plan Phase 1; St. Lawrence College, Ontario, Student Residence; Alfred Lefaivre Water Treatment Plant; Renfrew Water Treatment Plant; The Library of Parliament heritage restoration; Civic Hospital Heart Research and an office building on 90 Murray St.[4]

The Thomas G Fuller Trophy is awarded annually to the Canadian Forces Naval Reserve achieving the topmost state of combat readiness. Captain Thomas G Fuller served as Commodore to the Britannia Boating Club, Ottawa, Ontario 1948-49 . The Fuller Trophy, his uniform and his sword are in a display cabinet in the Commodore's Boardroom at the Britannia Yacht Club. In 1969, a brass plaque on the harbour at Britannia Yacht Club commomorated All the walls in this harbour were built by the physical efforts of the club members started 1 nov 1951 length 1 mile completed 19 October 1968. This stone laid by Captain Thomas G. Fuller.

The Commodore’s boardroom table features a Ship's wheel from the G.B. Patee II, (1904), a steam tug acquired as a family brigantine in 1952 by Captain Thomas Fuller. The Britannia Yacht Club has used the tug, rigged as a pirate ship known as STV Black Jack since 1983 to train young people to sail through the Bytown Brigantine Inc.[5]

The Canadian War Museum erected a memorial passageway plaque in his honour: "The name of this passageway honours the late Captain Thomas G. Fuller, D.S.C.**, M.I.D., R.C.N.V.R., whose operational exploits on loan to the Royal navy during the Second World War, serving in and commanding flotillas of Motor Torpedo Boats and Gun Boats, earned him great distinction as "The Pirate of the Adriatic". His "Nelson-like" tactics of thwarting, sinking, boarding and capturing enemy shipping revolutionized coastal forces small boat warfare, insufficiently recognized as R.C.N.V.R. operations that deserve a better place in Canadian military history. Acknowledged by Marshal Tito as an "Hon. Commandant National Army of Liberation" for his strategic support of the Partisans in liberation of Yugoslavia, Thomas George Fuller is fondly remembered as a genuine Canadian hero, a wonderful husband and father, "master builder" and philanthropist.[6]

His sons William, Mark, Antony and Simon continue to run the company, now known as Fuller Group.

See also[edit]

Adriatic Campaign of World War II



  • Davies, David Twiston, ed. "Canada From Afar: The Daily Telegraph Book of Canadian Obituaries". Toronto Dundurn Press, 1996. ISBN 1-55002-252-0. ([1])

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